Shaburi and Kintan Buffet is the latest Japanese dining spot available at JEM. This dual-cooking style concept is the first of its kind in Singapore, offering yakiniku on the left and shabu shabu on the right. Located on the third floor, it is found at far end of the mall (near Phiten) and tempts fickle-minded tummies with a choice of two delicious options at its doorstep.
At Shaburi, the interior is bright and welcoming with tables that generally accommodate four (or more) diners at a time. Each diner gets their own personal hotpot – which is one of their highlight features.
There are a couple of options for the buffet, but the general idea is the more you pay, the better quality meat you’ll have access to. There are four types of beef cuts available: beef short plate, a cut from under the ribs; beef brisket, Marble Scoring (MS) 5 grade and MS grade 8 Australian wagyu.
A. Regular Shabu
Lunch from $19.80/Dinner from $24.80
Low Fat Pork +Tasty Beef (Beef Short pPate)
B. Special Shabu
Lunch from $24.80/Dinner from $29.80
Low Fat Pork + Tasty Beef (Beef Short Plate) +Special Beef (Beef Brisket)
C. Shaburi Wagyu Shabu
Lunch from $34.80/Dinner from $39.80
Low Fat Pork + Tasty Beef (Beef Short Plate) + Special Beef (Beef Brisket) +Shaburi Wagyu (Aus Wagyu)
D. Special Wagyu Shabu
Lunch from $49.80/Dinner from $54.80
Low Fat Pork + Tasty Beef (Beef Short plate) + Special Beef (Beef Brisket) + Shaburi Wagyu (Aust Wagyu)
+ Special Wagyu (High grade Aust Wagyu)
A la carte meat plate sets are available from $12.80 during lunch times on weekdays and there is an option for free-flow beer too. The prices go up a little during dinner time but it’s nothing too unexpected. If you’ve a little cash to spare, best go for the Shaburi Wagyu Shabu and just keep ordering the wagyu — it’s the most value for money option.
Shaburi offers five different kinds of soup bases: Konbu, a Japanese seaweed broth made with bonito dashi and served with one piece of konbu; Sukiyaki is a classic savoury-sweet soup made with mirin, Japanese soy sauce and sugar; Paitan Collagen Soup, a chicken-based soup brewed with chicken bones, leek and other herbs that are incredibly good for your skin; Paitan Karamiso is a variation of the Paitan Collagen Soup that is spiked with spicy miso; and last but not least Tonyu Miso, a smooth, creamy broth made with soy milk and miso.
We got to sample all of the soups before we each picked one that we liked. The Konbu soup has a clear, slightly salty taste while the Sukiyaki broth may be just a little too sweet – but matched with a lightly beaten egg, the sweetness was just right. Paiten Karamiso has a good spicy kick, perfect for chili lovers while the Paitan Collagen Soup is an easy to take broth that is suitable for most people. Our soup base of choice is the Tonyu Miso. It has a light yet rich flavour that brings out the creaminess of the meat.
Having individual hotpots makes it extremely easy to enjoy various soup flavours (if you go with a group of friends). But if you’re alone or don’t particularly like sharing, you can change your soup base for an additional $2. Otherwise your original soup base is free flow for your entire meal.
The buffet selection includes a selection of beef and pork cuts, including wagyu. While not from Japan, the Australian wagyu is equally tasty with umami-rich flavour.
The meat is freshly cut with each order from a huge slab in the kitchen and none of it is frozen, which means the meat is extremely fresh and easy to cook evenly. The slices are incredibly thin, depending on the cut of meat, it might even be as finely cut as 2mm thick (or thin, rather).
Personally, we enjoyed the Shaburi Wagyu cut over the Special Wagyu as the Shaburi Wagyu had a richer, meatier flavour. The Special Wagyu has higher fat content which when done right is buttery and has a slightly silky texture. In fact, you might find your broth developing a deeper flavour as you cook more slices of meat in it.
The trick to cooking the perfect slice of shabu shabu beef is to swirl the meat around until it turns a light shade of brown. Pull it out just before the meat is fully cooked and let it rest. The meat will continue to cook while it is resting. Before it completely cools off, dip it into any sauce (or a lightly beaten egg) that you like.
Included in both Shaburi and Kintan’s buffet prices are over 40 different kinds of hot and cold side dishes. These include fresh greens, sushi, curry fried rice and the assortment changes every fortnight.
The vegetables are kept crisp, fresh and green through the use of a specially-imported Japanese mist machine.
Both Shaburi and Kintan have a dipping sauce station that offers over 10 different sauces each. Our favourite sauces for the shabu shabu were the the Shaburi Original and the creamy Goma (sesame) sauce. Kintan also has its own house-sauce (which we highly recommend) otherwise you can make up your own sauce or go simple with some salt and lime.
Of course, there isn’t really a “best” sauce as it all comes down to personal preference or, in the case of Shaburi, the type of soup base you choose.
Across the room, over at Kintan, you will find over a wide variety of meat done in a number of ways to fill your tummies and satisfy your taste buds. The same logic at Shaburi applies at Kintan – the more you pay, the wider your menu.
A. Regular Buffet
Lunch from $22.80/ Dinner from $27.80
Includes 10 items
B. Kintan Buffet
Lunch from $29.80/Dinner from $34.80
Includes 18 items
C. Premium Kintan Buffet
Lunch from $39.80/ Dinner from $44.80
Includes 28 items
D. Special Wagyu Buffet
Lunch from $54.80/ Dinner from $59.80
Includes 34 items
One of the best cuts we got to try was the Shimofuri Steak (Double Pepper) and Wagyu Karubi (Tare). The meat is well-marbled and the cuts are just the right thickness – thin enough so they cook relatively quickly yet thick enough to be a good, tender mouthful.
The meat is served in a couple of ways, with Double Pepper seasoning, drizzled in Tare, Spicy Miso and other sauces or topped with Negi Shio.
While yakiniku is mostly about beef, for those hankering after other options, the menu also includes chicken and pork cuts. The chicken is exceptionally juicy and soft and is served with a unique Cheese Curry dip. Local taste buds may find the cheese flavour a little over powered by the curry, but the rich aftertaste makes up for that.
The grills are specially imported from Japan and have vents just above the grill itself that vacuum in the smoke before it reaches your clothes and hair. So if you’re looking for a meaty BBQ date-night dinner spot, this could be it.
At the entrance, there’s an automated system that allows you to “get in line” for a table. Simply select which side of the restaurant you wish to dine at, for how many and the machine will generate a queue number for you. Just above the queue machines, there are flashing LED numbers that will let you know it’s your turn.
Whether you’re looking for something warm and soupy or grilled and hearty, Shaburi and Kintan Buffet has both options available right at their doorstep. It’s a little far out for those living in central or east Singapore but worth the visit if you happen to be in the area.
Shaburi & Kintan Buffet #03-11 and #03-12 JEM, 50 Jurong Gateway Road Tel: 6262 4329 Daily, 11.30am -10pm Facebook | Instagram